Potential New Non-Insulin Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes Found

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered a hormone pathway that could possibly lead to new ways of treating type 1 diabetes without the use of insulin.

The Hormone - Fibroblast Growth Factor 19 (FGF19)

The hormone has insulin-like characteristics beyond its role in bile acid synthesis. Unlike insulin, however, FGF19 does not cause excess glucose to turn to fat, suggesting that its activation could lead to new treatments for diabetes. "The fundamental discovery is that there is a pathway that exists that is required for the body, after a meal, to store glucose in the liver and drive protein synthesis. That pathway is independent of insulin," said Dr. David Mangelsdorf, chairman of pharmacology at UT Southwestern.

Lab Study

Researchers studied mice lacking FGF15 -- the rodent FGF19 hormone equivalent. These mice, after eating, could not properly maintain blood concentrations of glucose and normal amounts of liver glycogen. Glycogen is a form of glucose storage found mainly in liver and muscle tissue. The mice were then injected with FGF19 to evaluate its effects on metabolism in the liver. FGF19 restored glycogen levels in the mice lacking FGF15. When administered to diabetic mice lacking insulin, FGF19 also corrected the loss of glycogen and it does not fat.

Conclusion

Being able to manipulate the hormone is the part scientists are working on now so some form of the hormone can be used for type 1 diabetes.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324153026.htm

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